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Weight Loss in Older Women Linked to Lower Bone Density

Small, but independent effect, particularly for women with a relatively high BMI at baseline

FRIDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Women who lose weight during the peri- and postmenopausal years are more likely to lose bone mineral density than women who gain weight, researchers report in the November issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Siri Forsmo, M.D., of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, and colleagues conducted forearm bone mineral density tests on 2,005 women who were between the ages of 45 and 60 at baseline and after a mean 11.3-year follow-up.

Overall, 66.3 percent of the women gained weight, and the mean gain was 3.4 kilograms. The youngest women gained the most weight. Nineteen percent of the women lost weight, and weight loss was an independent predictor of lower bone mineral density. This was particularly true for women who had a body mass index of 25 or greater at baseline who lost weight during the study.

"Weight loss had a small, but inverse and independent effect on forearm bone mineral density," the authors write. "This study did not document an independent effect of weight gain on forearm bone mineral density; the observed inverse association was explained by their lower body weight at baseline."

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